Thursday, March 3, 2011

Light Wind Sailing

Having had so many good light wind days recently I have been thinking about the art of sailing efficiently in light winds.  Here are a few tips to get you ahead of the pack.

Move your mast track back slightly.

Move your boom up as far as you can manage.

Less downhaul of course but with race and slalom sails don't let too much off.  I find that a badly downhauled cambered sail appears to have more power but this doesn't always translate into efficient forward motion.

Pumping is important in these conditions of course but remember to pump the fin as well as the sail.  When approaching a lull, increased pressure on the fin is really important - use the back foot to nudge the fin and you should make it through the lull.

Get your weight back on the board as soon as possible after the start.  This is especially important with wide short boards.

Look down (momentarily) at your feet when you are planing.  The spray from under the board should be shooting off behind your front feet.  If the spray is further forward, your mast foot or footstraps are too far forward.

When you have flipped the sail in your gybe, grab the new side of the boom as far back as you can.

The palm of your front hand must face down on the boom.  As soon as you are planing comfortably or in the gusts you can change to a palm up grip but when searching for power - palm down.

Look at your stance.  Your body should trace the number 7 as you fly over the water.  Your arms to the boom are the top of the 7 and your body forms a graceful curve from top to bottom.  Some of the body positions I see on the water are horrible.  You need to be Fred Astaire not Quasimodo.

Move you pelvis forward, arching your back slightly.  This moves the mast upright giving power.

Look ahead to where you are going.  The eyes control the head, the head controls the body.

That's all for now.  I will do something on high wind sailing soon.

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